PowerPoint provides two types of shapes: open and close shapes. In Figure 1 below you can see a thick weighted outline around
both a closed shape (on the left) and as an open shape (on the right). Shapes, such as rectangles, circles, etc. are closed shapes. Regular line
shapes, such as straight lines, curves, scribbles, etc. are open shapes. Arrowheads can be added only to open shapes, like the one on the right in
Figure 1. That's because an arrow needs a pronounced, visible beginning and end.
Figure 1: Samples of lines (outlines) in closed and open shapes
We have already explained the basics of
outlines and how you can change their
Dash types. In this tutorial we'll learn
about adding arrowheads to open shapes in PowerPoint 2016. Figure 2
below shows some samples of lines with arrowheads on one or both sides.
Figure 2: Sample arrow styles (lines with arrows)
Follow these steps to add or edit arrowheads:
Open your presentation and
select the open shape that you want to format.
Alternatively, if you want to start from scratch, launch PowerPoint. You will see the
Presentation Gallery -- here, select the
Blank Presentation option to open a blank presentation with a new slide -- you can change the Slide Layout to Blank by selecting
the Home tab | Layout | Blank option. Then,
insert a shape and select it.
- We selected a Line shape, as shown in Figure 3.
Selecting the shape brings up the Drawing Tools Format tab in the
Ribbon, as shown highlighted in red within
Figure 3. Activate this Ribbon tab by clicking on it.
Figure 3: Line shape inserted and selected
Note: The Drawing Tools Format tab is a contextual tab. These tabs are special tabs in the
Ribbon that are not visible all the time -- they only make an appearance when you are working with a particular slide object which can be edited
using special options.
- Within the Drawing Tools Format tab, click on the right side of the Shape Outline button (highlighted in
red within Figure 4). This brings up the Shape Outline drop-down gallery, as shown in
Figure 4. From the Shape Outline drop-down gallery, choose Arrows to bring up the
Arrows sub-gallery, as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Shape Outline drop-down gallery
- Within the Arrows sub-gallery, choose any of the available arrow styles. Alternatively, choose the More Arrows option highlighted in blue within Figure 4, above. This summons the Format Shape
Task Pane, as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5: Arrow settings options within Format Shape Task Pane
Within the Figure 5 above all options except those concerned with arrows have been faded out. The other options shown in the
faded areas are explained in the Formatting Outlines for Shapes tutorials for
- You can customize your arrow style by changing the Begin Arrow type, the Begin Arrow size, the End
Arrow type, and the End Arrow size.
Figure 6 shows the Begin Arrow type drop-down -- the End Arrow type drop-down has the same
options. In both these drop-downs, you'll find options for 5 arrow styles, and a No Arrow option. You can choose any of these 5
styles. We have used Stealth Arrow style as you can see in Figure 6.
Figure 6: Begin Arrow type options
- You also have nine different choices regarding the size of the arrowhead, starting from Arrow L Size 1 to Arrow L Size
9 (letter L stands for left). Figure 7 shows you the Begin size drop-down, and not
surprisingly, the End size drop-down offers the same options! But the only difference will be that the letter R,
denoting Right will replace the letter L.
Figure 7: Begin Arrow size options
- After choosing the required arrowhead style and size, you can see the line shape with arrowhead applied, as shown in Figure 8.
Figure 8: Arrowheads applied to the line
- Save your presentation often.
(Arrowheads) in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Arrows (Arrowheads) in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
(Arrowheads) in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
(Arrowheads) in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows
Arrowheads and Arrow Styles
for Lines in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003 for Windows
PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003 for Windows
PowerPoint 2016 and 2011 for Mac
Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado?
Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?
Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences ebook.